News & Politics

China's Agriculture Ministry Says Dogs Are No Longer Considered Livestock

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Last week I told you how the Chinese city of Shenzen is reacting to the breakout of COVID-19 the Chinese virus by banning the consumption of cats and dogs. I also told you how racist it is to talk about Chinese people eating cats and dogs, because it relies on the racist assumption that every single Chinese person in the world eats cats and dogs. Some of them don’t, you racist!

I was very disappointed in the racist decision-making process of Shenzen’s municipal government. You’d wouldn’t think Chinese people could ever be so racist against Chinese people. But now the racism is spreading even faster than the virus.

Jane Li & Mary Hui, Quartz:

In a newly published list of animals categorized as livestock in China, the country’s agriculture ministry made a surprising announcement… dogs are no longer to be treated as mere livestock, but as loyal companions.

“Alongside the development of human civilization and the public’s care toward protecting animals, dogs have now evolved from being traditional livestock to companion animals,” the notice dated April 8 read (link in Chinese)…

Around 10 million dogs and four million cats are estimated to be slaughtered and eaten in China every year, according to Hong Kong-based animal welfare group Animals Asia, but the practice is coming under increasing criticism from the country’s growing ranks of pet lovers.

That’s why it’s racist to make jokes about Chinese people eating cats and dogs. Just like it’s racist to joke about Italians being criminals or Nigerians running phishing scams or the Irish propensity for drunken homelessness. Just because it happens, a lot, doesn’t mean you should make people feel uncomfortable by saying things that are true.

This is only going to stoke the fires of racism. Just because people are losing their jobs and can’t pay their bills and are terrified of suffocating to death as the Wuhan virus shuts down their lungs, just because the Chinese government is directly responsible for what’s happening to you right now, that doesn’t mean you get to say things like this:

Q: What do you call a Chinese person who eats dogs?

A: Statistically speaking, he’s probably named Wang.

This “joke” is based on a racist assumption about Chinese names, which has no basis in anything except fact. Not only that, but it also makes the racist assumption that a Chinese person has ever eaten a dog. Which is true. And also racist.

Stop saying Chinese people eat household pets. It’s very cruel and hurtful and accurate.